The weather is warming up, flowers are blooming, and there’s a sense of growth in the air as we try to shake off cooler weather, but for the Economic Development (ED) team at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, the city has been exploring growth since the calendar switched to 2022.
In 2021, the ED team at the Economic Alliance received 17 requests for proposals (RFP) from organizations around the globe who were looking to expand their companies. Cedar Rapids was honored to have made the short list on a handful of these proposals, and had a total of 3 site visits.
Five months into the 2022 year and the ED team has already received 9 RFP’s and hosted 7 site visits to Cedar Rapids. Of these 7 visits, Cedar Rapids has been selected as part of the final locations for consideration with two foreign companies. The big question- why Cedar Rapids? Why is our city beating out thousands of other cities around the nation? While the process is complex, the answer is pretty simple. Cedar Rapids has a large catalogue of
infrastructure to offer these growing companies: a booming agriculture and food
production industry, large displays of land close to railroads, power, and
water services, as well as close proximity to highways and multiple big cities. And that is just scratching the surface.
Cedar Rapids has a large catalogue of infrastructure to offer these growing companies: a booming agriculture and food production industry, large displays of land close to railroads and water runoff, close proximity and central locations to highways and multiple big cities. And that is just scratching the surface.
Ron Corbett, Vice President of Economic Development at the Economic Alliance, went on to explain that Cedar Rapids has the geography companies are looking for. “Our region is within a days drive to Madison, Omaha, St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and more. Companies want to expand in Cedar Rapids because they’re able to get their product out faster while incurring lower shipping costs.”
One company that is no stranger to the benefits of our geographic location is ADM. Nearly a thousand trucks per day pass through Cedar Rapids transporting corn back and forth to their facilities. Cedar Rapids has a very healthy trucking industry, which is one of the many reasons companies that already have an established base here, like FedEx, decided to expand their operations in Cedar Rapids.
While geography does play a large role in a company’s decision to move forward with location selections, Corbett went on to explain that Cedar Rapids has the infrastructure businesses are looking for. “We have the available land. Our city can handle the amount of water, waste water, and utilities these corporations need to have in order to be successful. These amenities are why Cedar Rapids is getting the attention from national and foreign investors.”
Bringing new business and expansion projects to the area is important to maintain vibrancy and growth in our region. If our community isn’t growing, then we aren’t moving upward, which is the direction we always need to be going. Another advantage that draws in potential new business is our diversified economy. Cedar Rapids has a pipeline of many different industries growing here, which is an attractive quality to companies of all kinds looking to expand. It’s certainly a potential concern for any business, new and existing, the ability to seek and retain a solid workforce. And while workforce issues are top of mind nationwide, Iowa and the Economic Alliance are aware and taking the steps to address it. Resources such as access to a workforce specialist from the Economic Alliance, a dedicated team at Kirkwood Community College, and connecting companies together to discuss solutions, are all pieces that are already in place. Companies should feel confident they have access to workforce support and reliable employees when making their decision to make Cedar Rapids their location of choice.
Location. Workforce. Resources. Diversity. Reliability. Qualities that check the boxes of companies around the world looking to grow and expand. Cedar Rapids meets the checklist, and exceeds it, which is why 2022 is off to a raving start with promising momentum for the rest of the year. Learn more about economic development efforts that the Economic Alliance is leading and supporting at www.cedarrapids.org/economic-development.